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Monday, April 29, 2013

Tis the Season for Testing!

We are currently in the middle of testing season! Some of you may have already finished your testing, but many are still preparing. Our fifth graders finished up last week, but our third and fourth graders will be testing this week.

In the past several weeks, we had reviewed a few different strategies for test-taking. We talked about how sometimes we need to know how to show what we know. Knowing about the format of the test and what to expect helps put the students more at ease. 

Now that the test was upon us, I wanted to help students reflect on what they had learned and just relax. As the test has been approaching, anxiety seems to have been building. To take the edge off, I began by giving students a special testing treat. You can get your own copy of the cards from Ms. Winston's Blog.

As students were snacking on their treats, I read aloud The Big Test. In this great book, the students are busy learning how to show what they know on the state test. As the lessons continue, the students keep getting more and more stressed out. At the end, the students learn the most important lesson: RELAX! This book was published fairly recently and does a great job showing the anxiety that often becomes associated with these standardized tests.

Once I had finished reading aloud the book, my students and I reviewed the important things we should remember when taking the test. Students wrote their ideas on post-its, and we put the post-its on an anchor chart.

The students came up with some great responses. I let them add pictures to their post-its to liven up the anchor chart, and to have a little fun! I will show you a few of their fantastic ideas. 

Read the directions and take your time.

Don't go out of the answer box.

One of my students told me the answer box was the "bane of his existence." He said he had been told "a million" times to stay in the box, but that there just wasn't enough room!

Rest for the Test!

We decided that this was such a clever slogan that we needed to start marketing it!

Get your talking out of your body.

I love this one! He said you had to talk a lot before the test so that you wouldn't have any more talking left to use during the test. No talking during the test!

While this was such a simple activity, the students really enjoyed themselves, especially when they were able to draw. I honestly think the activity helped my students realize that they are prepared for this test. This is just a chance to show what you know. In order to do this, you have to relax! How do you help your students relax?


  1. Sounds like a great way to get your students to relax! Our state testing is done in the fall which means we use the first 5 or 6 weeks of school reviewing everything they should have learned and helping the summer sliders catch up. I think testing in the fall stresses all of us out even more.

    The Math Maciac

  2. I love the Post Its on the anchor chart! We are preparing for the tests, which are ALL on the computer this year. Our state has even added some rigor with these new Technology Enhanced Items. They are quite overwhelming! Hope your testing season goes smoothly!

    Reading Toward the Stars

  3. That's a great anchor chart! I love making them interactive. I do group stretching with my kids. We take deep breaths, stretch our shoulders, necks, and arms, and stretch our fingers since they spend so much time writing. The first time we did it last year they were not serious about it, but we've done it quite a bit (lots of tests!) since then and I think they look forward to it.



Thank you for the comment! I love hearing what you think!

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